AeroGarden | Flower Series | Planting Your Garden

Tending & Harvesting Guide
Planting Your Garden
Plant Your Garden . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Tending Your Garden
Remove Domes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Thin Plants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Add Water . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Feed Garden . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Raise Lamp Hood (Light[s]) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5
Support Green Bean Plants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
Prune Tomato & Pepper Plants . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7
Pollinate Tomato & Pepper Plants . . . . . . . . . . . . 11
Keep Your Garden Healthy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Plant Problems & Remedies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13
Harvesting Your Garden
Harvest Your Garden . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
Reminders About Planting Your Garden . . . . . 20
Questions & Answers – Light(s) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
Set Your Light Timer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
Troubleshooting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
Replace Bulb(s) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
AeroGarden Classic is pictured throughout this guide,
but instructions apply to all AeroGarden models.
Quick Start Guides available at:
Planting Your Garden
A little bit of care for your Garden will ensure rapid
growth and bountiful harvests. You will see sprouts in
a few days. In a few months, you will experience the
transformation of your seeds into delicious vegetables.
P lant Your Garden
Whether this is the first or fifth garden you are
planting in your AeroGarden, you will need to
reference your Quick Start Guide.
If you have planted a garden in your AeroGarden
prior to this one, please refer to “Replanting Your
AeroGarden” in the Quick Start Guide before you
If you no longer have your model’s Quick Start
Guide, you can obtain the latest version of it at
Plant Spacers are provided in some AeroGarden
Vegetable Seed Kits. Using Plant Spacers ensures that
each plant receives enough light and enough room
to grow and produce fruit.
Consult the “Plant Your Garden” section in your
Quick Start Guide for instructions and information
on the optimal placement of Seed Pods and Plant
Spacers in your AeroGarden’s Grow Surface.
NOTE: Vegetables need a daily dark period to produce
flowers and fruit. If your Garden is in a place that
receives any room light (natural or artificial), we
recommend that you set your light(s) to be on
during the day. If the option is available to change
the time your light(s) go off, instructions will be found
in the, “Personalize Your Light Timer” section of the
Quick Start Guide .
Planting Your Garden
Tending Your Garden
Please take a moment to review this section shortly
after planting your Garden (see page 20 for Reminders
About Planting Your Garden).
Remove Domes
• A few days after planting
your AeroGarden, tiny plants
will appear through the
holes in each Seed Pod Label.
When this occurs, remove
the Domes from each Seed
Pod with emerging plants
and discard or recycle.
Do not remove the Label!
• To reduce plant stress, we
recommend removing the
Domes shortly after the
light(s) turn off or near the
end of the light cycle.
• For tomato and pepper
plants, leave the Plant
Spacers in the Grow Surface.
These inhibit algae growth
by blocking light.
Each Seed Pod Label shows
the number of days until
seeds sprout.
Don’t let this happen!
If your plant is curled
inside the Dome, it was left
on too long. Immediately
remove Dome.
Never remove Labels. They promote germination,
inhibit algae growth and
identify your plants.
Tending Your Garden
Thin Plants
• When your plants are about 1” (2.5cm) tall, check
each Seed Pod for
multiple plants.
Using scissors,
gently snip the
smallest plants
at the base of
stem, leaving ONE
healthy plant in
each Seed Pod.
• Thinning seedlings ensures that the remaining
plant in each Seed Pod will have room to grow, get
enough nutrients, and produce many fruits.
Be sure to cut, not pull, the extra seedlings to
avoid damaging the roots of the remaining plant
in each Seed Pod.
Add Water
There should always be water in the Bowl of your
AeroGarden. For instructions, see the “Add Water
Using a Spouted Container” section in your Quick
Start Guide.
• Use room-temperature water. Very hot or very
cold water will hurt your plants.
• We recommend using municipal tap, bottled or
purified water. Well or softened water SHOULD
NOT be used because the extra minerals in
these sources may be harmful to aeroponically
grown plants.
Tending Your Garden
F eed Garden
Every 2 weeks you will need to add one nutrient
tablet (3-pod AeroGardens) or two nutrient
tablets (6- or 7-pod AeroGardens) to the
Bowl. For instructions, see “Add Nutrients” (Feed
Garden - Basic Feeding) in the Control Panel Features
section of your Quick Start Guide.
Note: We recommend checking for bugs every time you
add nutrients. See Troubleshooting on page 23 of
this Guide for details.
Quick Start Guides available at:
Raise Lamp Hood (Light[s])
As your plants begin to grow, you should provide
1-2” (2.5-5cm) of space between the top of plants
and the light(s).
For instructions, refer to the “Raise Lamp Hood
(Light[s])” section in your Quick Start Guide.
If Grow Bulb(s) are too close to plants, leaves may
brown and burn. If they are too far away, your plants
will “stretch” toward the light and look unhealthy.
Tending Your Garden
S upport Green Bean Plants
After thinning, put Support Wires in place. As plants
mature, this open loop design will help your bean
plants stay upright and bear the weight of many
beans without breaking or tipping over.
• Twist the exposed
ends of Support Wire
with pliers to form a
continuous loop.
• Bend the Support
Wire into the shape
shown. Once shaped,
Wire should stand
approximately 4”
(10cm) tall.
• Secure Support
Wire under Seed
Pod by wedging the
exposed wire end
between underside
of Seed Pod and
Grow Surface.
When positioning Support
Wire, be careful not to
scratch Grow Surface.
Tending Your Garden
P rune Tomato & Pepper Plants
Pruning plants strengthens the main stem and helps
plant branch out (rather than grow straight up). A
strong plant with many branches will be able to bear
the weight of many tomatoes and peppers without
tipping over or breaking. Pruning also ensures that all
plants get enough light for optimal growth.
Refer to the pepper
green beans
for pepper-specific instructions;
for tomato-specific instructions; and
for green bean-specific instructions.
Young Plants
Pruning 3-4 Week Old
Pepper Plant
• When a pepper plant
has 3 branches growing off of the main
stem, it is time to prune
the plant. This typically
happens about 3 to 4
weeks after planting
your Garden.
• Cut and remove the
main stem of the
pepper plant just
above the 3rd branch.
Photo at right shows
how your plant might
look after pruning the
main stem.
Tending Your Garden
Quick Start Guides available at:
Pruning 4-5 Week Old Tomato Plant
About 4 to 5 weeks after planting your Garden, it is
time to prune young tomato plants.
• From the base of plant, follow
the main stem up past the
first 5 branches.
• Cut the main stem just
above the 5th branch.
Photo at left shows
how your plant
should look after
it has had its first
Skip this pruning if your Garden is older than
5 weeks and has flowers or considerably more
growth than pictured above.
Continued on next page
Tending Your Garden
P rune Tomato & Pepper Plants
Mature Plants (Ongoing Pruning)
To optimize the growth of your Garden and ensure
strong plants and bountiful harvests, you’ll need to
occasionally prune some branches from your plants.
Pruning Tomato Plant to Control
Horizontal Spreading (Ongoing)
Prune tomato branches that are growing outside
the reach of the Lamp Hood’s light.
The picture at right
shows a bird’s eye view
of plants that need
pruning. The circled
branches extend
more than 3” (7.5cm)
beyond outer edge of
Grow Surface and do
not receive enough
light to be productive.
Use scissors to cut
longer branches that
hang over the edge of
Grow Surface. Make cut
so that the branch is no
more than 3” (7.5cm)
beyond edge of Grow
Photo at right shows the
Garden after pruning.
Branches are now within
3” (7.5cm) of the edge of
Grow Surface.
Tending Your Garden
Quick Start Guides available at:
Pruning Tomato Plant to Control
Plant Height (Ongoing)
Branches that touch
light(s) when Lamp Hood
is at the highest setting
need to be pruned.
Use scissors to cut
branches that are
growing into light(s).
Follow branch to
where it meets another
branch – make cut just
before this junction.
Don’t be discouraged
if you end up cutting a
branch with some flowers,
or even a few small
unripe tomatoes. Pruning
strengthens plants and
allows your Garden to
put energy into growing
branches that can support
many tomatoes.
Photo at right shows the
Garden after pruning.
Branches are no longer
growing into Lamp Hood.
Tending Your Garden
P ollinate Tomato & Pepper Plants
In nature, pollination is done by bees and the wind.
Indoors, your tomato and pepper plants depend on
you to pollinate them.
You will need to start pollinating your plants regularly
once they begin to flower (approximately 4 weeks
after planting for tomatoes and about 5 weeks after
planting for peppers).
Place an open
hand gently
inside plant
Move your hand
rapidly back and
forth about 10
times to shake
plant. This will
spread the pollen,
though you will
not be able to see
it moving.
Pollinate your flowering plant at least every
other day, and only when light(s) are on.
Hand pollinating is an important task. Tomatoes
and peppers will only grow from pollinated flowers.
Special Note: Some people are allergic to the pollen in
pepper flowers. If you think you may be
sensitive to pepper pollen, we recommend
you use disposable gloves and a mask
when pollinating your plants to avoid
touching and/or inhaling the pollen.
Tending Your Garden
Keep Your Garden Healthy
Keeping a watchful eye on your Garden is not
only a joy, but also a smart way to make sure your
plants stay healthy.
As your plants age
you may see some
brown or yellow
leaves. This is
perfectly normal.
• Remove these
leaves with scissors
or pinch off with
your fingers.
Tomato Plant
• Keep Grow Surface
clear of dead leaves.
Pepper Plant
Pepper leaves are harmful
if ingested. Do Not Eat.
For tomato plants,
remove dead, brown
stems at the base with
scissors. These older
branches will not continue to produce fruit.
Tending Your Garden
lant Problems & Remedies
These pictures show plants from a Vegetable
Series Seed Kit that are stressed. Follow suggestions to restore your Garden’s health.
Garden is not getting enough
water. Check water level.
Plant is too close to Grow
Bulb(s). Raise the Lamp Hood.
Loose Pod Label
Unpollinated Flower
Occasionally, sprouting green
beans will push Labels off of
Seed Pods. Cut Label to remove
from plant, and place Label
back on Seed Pod to inhibit
algae growth.
If you see flower blooms on
your Grow Surface, your plant
is not being pollinated
sufficiently. Pollinate your
plants as described on page 11.
Curled Inside Dome
Dome was left on too long.
Immediately remove Dome.
Tending Your Garden
Quick Start Guides available at:
Support Tomato Plants
If you did not prune tomato plants as described
earlier in this Guide, you may find plants are starting
to tip over or even break due to the many tomatoes
now growing and ripening on the vines.
When this occurs, support tomato plants and bring
them back to the upright position by securing each
plant to the Lamp Arm with a tie.
Suggested Materials to Use for Supporting
Tomato Plants
The best way to support tomato
plants is with AeroGrow Soft-Ties.
AeroGrow Soft-Ties can be purchased
at or
from your retailer.
There are a variety of
other materials you
can use to support
your tomato plants.
Some options are
shown at right.
Ribbon, at least 1/4” (0.6cm), hook &
loop tape, or old stockings will all work
for securing your plant.
Do not use ties that will dig into (and damage)
stem, such as string or wire. Also avoid materials
that stretch, such as stretch ties sold in gardening
shops, as these are not strong enough to support
heavily laden tomato branches.
Continued on next page
Tending Your Garden
lant Problems & Remedies
How To Support Tomato Plants
Garden at right
needs support.
The following
steps explain
how to support
your plants.
• Loop a tie around main stem at a point where it:
a) is strong enough
not to bend or
break when tie is
secured, and
b) stands upright
when tie is pulled
toward Lamp Arm.
• Tightly loop one end of tie around Lamp Arm. Hold
tie in position with
one hand. With
other hand, gently
pull opposite end
of tie to bring main
stem to an upright
Helpful Hint: The best way to figure out where to
place the tie is to very gently push on the main stem
with your fingers, testing for strength and ability to
support the plant.
Tending Your Garden
Quick Start Guides available at:
• Secure the two ends
of tie to each other
by twisting.
• If you notice other
heavy branches
that need additional
support, secure
them to the Lamp
Arm, as well.
NOTE: You may need
to prune plants
after adding
support ties
(see page 9 of
this Guide).
The photo at right
shows the Garden
after tie supports have
been added.
Loosen or untie supports before raising Lamp
Hood, to avoid damaging plant stems.
Tending Your Garden
Harvesting Your Garden
H arvest Your Garden
About 6-8 weeks after planting your Garden, you
can begin harvesting your green beans. Tomato
and pepper plants need about 12-14 weeks before
they are ready to harvest.
Harvest your vegetables with pruning shears, household scissors, or by gently pinching off with fingers.
Following the harvesting tips below will help keep
your plants productive and healthy.
Green Beans
A green bean is ready for picking when it is about
3-4” (7.5-10cm) in length.
Pick green bean gently
with your fingers:
• Hold green bean
loosely in your palm.
• Grasp stem (slightly
above green bean)
between thumb
and pointer finger.
Approximate length – 4” (10cm)
• Snap stem between
fingers. You can also
use scissors to
harvest green beans.
If green bean breaks
during harvesting, take
a moment to go back
and snap the rest of it
off. This will help keep
your plant productive and healthy.
Harvesting Your Garden
• A ripe tomato feels
firm, but has a bit
of “give” when
Red Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes
Under Ripe
• Harvest tomatoes
just before eating
for a “sun-ripened”
sweet flavor.
• If tomatoes are
left on the stems,
they will continue
to draw moisture
and nutrients from
stems several days
after they’ve been
• Never Refrigerate
Fresh Tomatoes!
Cold temperatures
make the flesh of a
tomato pulpy and
destroy the flavor.
Golden Harvest
Cherry Tomatoes
Under Ripe
Continued on next page
Harvesting Your Garden
Harvest Your Garden
A pepper is ready for picking when it is fully grown –
2-3” (5-7.5cm). Once your peppers are ripe, they start
changing color. The longer peppers ripen, the hotter
they become, so choose your desired level of heat by
how ripe your peppers are when you harvest.
How Hot Are Your Peppers?
Capsaicin is the oil
in chili peppers that
makes them hot.
Its concentration
(measured in Scoville
Units) increases as
peppers ripen and
can range from 0 in
a sweet pepper to
a fiery 300,000 in a
Red Fire Peppers – 40,000 (greenhabanero pepper.
unripe) to 50,000 (red-ripe)
Depending on the Seed Kit you have, AeroGarden
peppers have Scoville ratings ranging from 2,500 for
unripe peppers to 160,000 for ripe peppers.
Handling Peppers
• The oil in peppers can cause an unpleasant
burning sensation to eyes and skin. When
preparing peppers, try to limit your handling
of oil contained in the inner flesh and seeds,
and wear rubber gloves if possible.
• Keep some vinegar on hand to neutralize
pepper oil if it comes in contact with skin.
• Avoid touching eyes and face until you have
washed your hands thoroughly with soap.
Pepper leaves are harmful
if ingested. Do Not Eat.
Harvesting Your Garden
About Planting
Your Garden
Please use the Quick Start Guide included in your
original AeroGarden box for more detailed setup
instructions. If you no longer have your Quick Start
Guide, you can find the latest version of it at…
Setting up Your Garden
1 Is the Lamp Arm firmly
9 Did you add Starting
2 Are Grow Bulb(s)
10 Did you record
3 Is Lamp Cord plugged
Starting Your Garden
4 Is Bowl securely
11 Did you plug in
inserted into the Base?
firmly inserted into
Lamp Hood?
into Lamp Hood?
placed in Base*?
5 Is there water in Bowl
up to “Fill To Here”?
Nutrient tablet(s)?
planting date on the
cover of this Guide?
• Are Grow
Bulb(s) on?
6 Is Lamp Hood at
lowest setting?
Replanting Your
Garden (if this is not
your first planting)
Planting Your Garden
12 Did you reset the
7 Is there a Seed Pod
or Plant Spacer in every
Grow Surface opening?
8 Did you put a Dome
on each Seed Pod?
nutrient timer on
your AeroGarden?
(See “Replanting
Your AeroGarden” in
Quick Start Guide.)
* If your AeroGarden has an Air Hose, connect it to
the Bowl at this time.
Q uestions & Answers–Light(s)
Do I need to turn light(s) on and off manually?
No. Your AeroGarden includes a built-in timer that
turns your light(s) on and off at specific intervals.
These intervals are designed to maximize the growth
of your vegetable plants. The timing system started as
soon as you plugged in your AeroGarden.
Does it matter what time of day the light(s) go off?
Yes. Vegetables require a daily dark period in order
to produce flowers. We recommend that you set your
AeroGarden light(s) to be on during the day and off
at night.
Can I change the time of day the light(s) go OFF?
On select models – yes. If it is possible to change the
time your light(s) go off, instructions will be found
in the, “Personalize Your Light Timer” section in your
Quick Start Guide.
S et Your Light Timer
Your AeroGarden has light(s) and a built-in timer
that automatically provide your plants with the
optimal amount of light needed to grow an abundance of delicious vegetables.
If the option is available to set the light timer* on your
AeroGarden, you will find instructions in the “Personalize Your Light Timer” section of your Quick Start Guide.
* Not available on all AeroGarden models – consult Quick
Start Guide – available at
Keep in mind that vegetables need a daily
dark period in order to produce flowers.
What do I do when a Grow Bulb burns out?
Replacement bulbs can be ordered from your
retailer or at
What should I do if my Grow Bulb(s) aren’t working?
Make sure Grow Bulb(s) are firmly inserted in the
Lamp Hood. Also check that your Garden is plugged
into a working electrical outlet and the Lamp Cord is
plugged into the Lamp Hood.
What if I want to move my Garden to another
Go right ahead! Keep in mind that each AeroGarden
model has different features. Unplugging a Garden
in the middle of its growth cycle could cause your
AeroGarden’s light timer to reset. Before moving your
AeroGarden, consult your Quick Start Guide to see how
light timer is affected when your model is unplugged.
To move your AeroGarden, be sure to pick it up by
holding the Lamp Arm with one hand and sliding
your other hand under the bottom of the Base.
My Garden doesn’t look healthy. What can I do?
If you are concerned about the health of your
Garden, please go through the following…
• Keep light(s) as close to plants as possible, without
leaves touching the Grow Bulb(s).
• Replace Grow Bulb(s) every 6 months (see Quick
Start Guide for model-specific instructions).
• Follow instructions on pages 6-19 of this guide.
• Don’t use softened or well water.
• Continually harvest ripe tomatoes, peppers and
green beans.
Continued on next page
Why haven’t my tomato or pepper seeds
sprouted a week after planting my Garden?
Tomato and pepper seeds need temperatures above
60°F (15°C) to germinate (sprout) and temperatures
between 70-80°F (21-26°C) are optimal. Perhaps
you have placed your AeroGarden close to an air
conditioning unit or a very cold window. Move your
AeroGarden to a warmer location. The seeds should
germinate within five days.
Why do I have many flowers on my tomato/
pepper plant and not one tomato or pepper,
weeks after planting my Garden?
The flowers on your tomato or pepper plant are not
pollinated. Make sure to hand pollinate your flowers
every other day, as described on page 11.
What if I see bugs?
Occasionally, bugs might decide to visit your plants.
You will mainly see aphids on tomato and pepper
plants and spider mites on green bean plants. They
usually find their way into your home on clothing or
cut flowers. They hide under leaves and in the joints
between leaves and plant stems, so they can be difficult to see at first.
Initial signs that you have aphids are either your
plants look unhealthy or you may see a sticky
substance on your AeroGarden’s Grow Surface.
Spider mites look like tiny gray dots on the underside of leaves. Heavy infestation will leave noticeable
webs on the tops of plants.
This is the easiest way we’ve found to get rid of bugs:
1 Prepare a solution of non-toxic insecticidal soap,
available at most gardening stores – following
manufacturer’s directions.
2 Lightly spray plant leaves with soap and gently
rub leaves between fingers to coat entire leaf.*
* Be sure to rinse vegetables with water before eating.
Quick Start Guides available at:
3 Check surrounding plants to make sure bugs
haven’t spread. If they have, follow the above
steps with any other buggy plants.
4 Repeat as directed on the bottle of
insecticidal soap.
5 Keep a watchful eye on plants for the return
of bugs and treat again, if necessary.
My tomato or pepper plants are over 10 weeks
old and have no flowers yet.
There are several possible reasons for this.
1. Not enough dark hours – Tomato and pepper
plants require a daily dark period in order to
produce flowers. If your plants will receive any
room light during the day (natural or artificial),
we recommend that you set your light(s) to be
on during the day and off at night.
2. Room Temperature – Tomato and pepper plants
also prefer cool temperatures during this dark
period. In order to maximize plant flowering,
room temperatures should not exceed 90°F
(32°C) during the day and 75°F (23°C) at night.
3. Grow Bulb(s) – Grow Bulb(s) in use for more than
6 months may not deliver sufficient light to
plants. See Quick Start Guide for bulb replacement instructions. (Order bulbs from your retailer
or at
How do I take care of my Garden when I go
out of town?
Add water to raise the level up to “Fill To Here.” A
newly planted Garden with Domes removed may
not need care for up to 2 weeks. However, if your
Garden is mature and you will be out of town for
several days, we recommend that you make arrangements for someone to care for your Garden
while you are away.
Continued on next page
What do I do when my Garden has completed
its growth cycle?
For step-by-step instructions regarding the care
of your AeroGarden after plants have stopped
growing, refer to the “Prepare for your Next Garden”
section in the Quick Start Guide.
Quick Start Guides available at:
Replace Bulb(s)
Grow Bulb(s) should be replaced after 6 months
of use. See “Replace Grow Bulb(s)” in your Quick Start
Guide for replacement instructions.
Replacement bulbs can be ordered from your retailer or at
G ardening Notes
AeroGrow International, Inc.
Quick Start Guides available at:
© 2006-2008 AeroGrow International, Inc.
U.S. Patents Pending
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